Amsterdam, The Netherlands: A substantial number of European patients travel to other countries for fertility treatment, both because they think that they will receive better quality care abroad and in order to undergo procedures that are banned in their home country says a study of the subject launched at the 25th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology today (Monday June 29). Study co-ordinator Dr. Franoise Shenfield, from University College Hospital, London, UK, said that this was the first hard evidence of considerable fertility patient migration within Europe. "Until now we have only had anecdotal evidence of this phenomenon", she said. "We think that our results will be of considerable value to patients, doctors, and policymakers."
During a one-month period, the ESHRE Task Force analysed data from participating clinics in six European countries: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland. Clinics were asked to provide questionnaires to patients coming from abroad for treatment. The questionnaires asked about their age, country of residence, reasons for travelling to another country for treatment, which treatment they had received, whether they had received information in their own language, how they had chosen the centre they were attending, and whether they had received reimbursement from their home country's health system. 1230 forms were completed and returned.
"This may not seem to be a very high number", said Dr. Shenfield, "but it reflects only one month of events in a limited number of centres in six countries. The total number of treatment cycles per year can be estimated by extrapolating our monthly data to a year and by assuming that the centres represent no more than half of the centres in each of the countries studied. This leads to an estimate of at least 20 000 to 25 000 cross-border treatment cycles per year in these countries. It is, however,
|Contact: Mary Rice|
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology